Headhunter D.C. – …In Unholy Mourning…

February 3, 2014 –

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At a time when most crosshairs were aimed at Tampa, FL or Sweden as being “death metal capitals” some of us trained our sights further afield to places like Canada and Brazil which to their credit were home to a great number of pioneering bands. Headhunter D.C. are one such band who built a fanbase in their homeland of Brazil but are generally not known outside South America.

With …In Unholy Mourning…, the band crafts the same type of music it made in the 1990s but with better production it can compete with releases from bigger labels. This is part of the ongoing process by which bands from the 1990s are finally availing themselves of more powerful aesthetics. Folks tend to forget that in the 1980s we often found ourselves thinking, “Wouldn’t it be killer to hear so-and-so with a professional production?”

…In Unholy Mourning… may be the most mature release of Headhunter D.C.’s long career, exceeding even the high standard set by the fertile Brazilian scene. Abundant excellent riffs and arrangements pervade this recording and show what we have been missing out on all these years. The second track “Dawn Of Heresy” follows the introductory non-musical piece entitled “Rotten Death Prayer” with classic Acheron-esque opening rythms that chug into the punky skank beats which made death metal the natural bastard-child of metal and punk during the pioneering era.

The album varies pace throughout, accompanied by the vocals of Sergio Baloff which are likely the best output of his career. Guttural death metal howlings spend most of their time at the low end, fluctuating to higher mid-pitched expressions indicative of reading a piece of prose; there’s no monotone drab cupped vocals to be found here and no need for a lyric sheet. Baloff keeps the natural Brazilian flair to his voice and pronunciation yet enunciates the words so they can be easily deciphered. This creates an unusual vocal clarity in a genre where instruments or some other factor normally pollutes the ability to understand the words. He has faced criticism for making his vocal delivery dynamic in this way, showing that perhaps a large part of the listenership would prefer hearing the same thing ten times on the same album.

Magnifying this idea is the inclusion of the almost PERFECT cover of Thrashmassacre’s “Into The Nightmare,” which is more of a deathrash tune saluting the 1980s pre-death metal evolution within Brazilian extreme metal and although obscure became a highlight of the album. You would not immediately think of it as a cover, as it fits well into an album which is replete with tropes of its region, including the group vocal choruses on “Hail The Metal of Death” which are a nod to the glorious times era of Brazilian metal.

Headhunter D.C. deserve praise for coming up with a rewarding end result after obviously throwing their blood, sweat and tears into this effort, especially in a time when metal is so sterile, safe, consumerist and bland. …In Unholy Mourning… is not as slick and geared toward being a product as the new releases you find in glossy magazines and on big internet sites, but instead this is honest music with a fervent message that has finally gotten the production it always deserved.

Sanctifier – Daemoncraft

April 15, 2013 –

sanctifier-daemoncraftSanctifier craft fine quality vintage-sounding Brazilian death metal, straight forward and without the desire to pander to the elitist shit contingent wanting the next trend. These death metal maniacs have been kicking around since they were teenagers in the 80s and are not children of the tape-trading phenomenon but instigators of it.

For that reason, while Daemoncraft displays its Brazilian sound right off the bat with a warped rhythm weaving through opening track “Demon Ov Lava” (which is also added as a bonus track with Portuguese vocals at the end of this CD) they’re also influenced by their peers of the time such as Immolation and latter-era Morbid Angel (i.e. during Rutan’s relocation from Redbank to Tampa). To my ears at least, this mid-period death metal influence shows up musically on this recording and appears more prevalent than other pioneering influences the band naturally does have.

Getting robbed at gunpoint and thus losing his equipment didn’t hold sole song writer Alexandre Emerson back from creating some wicked songs yet again in the name of worshiping the ancient ones, even before it was a fashion with the young whipper snappers after this sort of music became available at the mall. The cult of Cthulhu remains central to the driving force behind the writing of this music. Lyrical content avoids any crypto-punk subject matter which was par for the course when this band were teenagers and is consistently so now that they’re seasoned elders of the genre.

Daemoncraft emerges as a compact album with some amazing guitar work that has just the right amount of more modern (i.e. early 90s style) feel meshed with the primitive proto-death metal of the 80s from which this band is forged. “The Enchanter” is a good example of this layering of feeling between the two realms. However, the song is consistently deliberate throughout and makes for an excellently paced album.

I agree with executive producer Everton De Castro of Dying Music when he says Daemoncraft is a work for metal brothers of the death metal old school; for those who aren’t just here for a trend, is there any other kind?

Sanctifier – Daemoncraft: $12 (BR) / $10 (US)

Bode Preto – Inverted Blood

March 30, 2013 –

bode_preto-inverted_bloodIt’s not often that a new band appears that warrants much attention from these old, somewhat jaded eyes. Indeed, there are still good releases that pop up from newer bands — even releases that are good enough in my opinion to support by buying them. In today’s age of over-saturation it’s really difficult to wade through the muck in an effort to find that diamond, if one even had the luxury of time to want to.

So when I received a message from Mr Adelson Souza, former member of the renowned Brazilian early 90s band The Endoparasites, I was quite shocked to say the least. Being a fan and vinyl collector of what was coming from Brazil in the 1980s and early 90s my interest piqued…and wasn’t this guy just making the rounds on the latest Grave Desecrator album Insult? That release is a phenomenal thing, and ranked high enough for me to actually buy the LP/CD combo from Hells Headbangers Records.

Adelson says he’s left Grave Desecrator and if I was interested he would send some advance early mixes of the currently new material, songs not at all near completion, with his new band called Bode Preto (in Portuguese, meaning Black Goat). Hell Yeah! Of course I wanted to check that out — and then I sort of went on with my own thing until one day that material showed up and life changed, again.

What hit me so unexpectedly was this barrage of music coming from just two men, which hurled me back into about 1987′s fetid Brazilian tape-trader jungle metal, but at the same time carrying a dominant genetic stamp throughout it that was distinctly Bode Preto’s. That usually just doesn’t happen — new bands are usually so hyped up and full of their own bullshit, sporting ripped off cover art and/or bastardizing someone else’s logo and when it boils down to the main body of their “art”, the music, well, to me it’s a meaningless string of riffs and rhythms sewn together to make a “song” with no conviction and leaving the listener feeling shafted and devoid of feeling.

SPEEDFREAK BOOKING
That might be OK for some, but not for me — and that’s where Bode Preto comes to play so solidly. I feel Bode Preto — and that’s what I want from music. It’s this way with any medium, or should be. These guys simply let their art do the talking and we garner from it what we will. I don’t think hell is supposed to sound this good though. The song “Elytron (Succubus)” for me denotes a truly classic release. I urge you to tap into that drumming which was not recorded in any studio, but simply a plain room, and absorb the feeling, and you’re on the path which has at least as many layers as Dante’s Inferno, if not more.

The exceedingly rich tradition from which Josh and Adelson come collectively, being from Brazil, shines right through not only musically but lyrically since Inverted Blood‘s lyrics have roots in the socio-political (almost punk rock oriented) outlook and expression of their artistic countrymen from the 1980s. If you want to boil it down to Bode Preto being an outlet for Josh S to comment on the world he sees, then you’re pretty much hitting the coffin nail on the head.

His (Josh S) life experiences, having traveled throughout Brazil and Europe working in theater/dance and music of varying styles, are what has spurned this beast of a release which he summarized in a recent conversation with me as being “the perfect way to express my true nature and view of world, and I will take good care of that as someone that works on a garden. Like Quorthon to Bathory or Lemmy to Motörhead.”

GOATPRAYER RECORDSListen to this release and think about how Adelson was originally approached as a session drummer…Having listened to the skeletal ideas, Adelson was apt to project his unique mind’s eye to the arrangements and ultimately became that new member. A quest to create led him to travel thousands of kilometers from home to spend a week with Josh — revealing a level of conviction to which I don’t think Josh was initially expecting. Josh found his “minute man” in Adelson and the resulting nine-track album is worthy of support by every extreme music fan if you’re worth your salt (or brimstone or whatever).

By the way, this is NOT a modern Sarcofago either, as I’ve heard some people mistakenly state, being very far from that indeed, even if Fabio Jhasko did honor the request to record some excellently placed solos on a few of the songs. I hold to my belief that the overall feeling of Inverted Blood in total gives me goose flesh akin to when I first span Cogumelo’s Warfare Noise Volume 1 compilation album in the 1980s — and a vibe akin to that glorious times era — but that’s as far as it goes. If you want cookie cutter moron metal, you’ll not be parting with your money for this album. Money is tight, I know, music is a luxury too — chances are you have a few crappy releases in your collection -– so sell them to some dumb kid and buy this album.

Interestingly enough however and I guess a bit more progressive towards the fans being able to obtain the album (compared to the old days when you had no choice but to get off your ass and physically trade records with anyone from Brazil), the band has licensed Inverted Blood thus far to three companies in three different formats. UK based Goatprayer Records was first to make available a professional cassette tape version in an extremely limited quantity of only 50 hand-numbered pieces, which I assume would be marketed to the hardcore collectors and fans in such limited number (mine is number 18).

KETZER RECORDS RELEASE ADVERTThe European continent and outlying areas have a handsome jewel case version on offer from the German Ketzer Records who were the next to release the album, and the first to release it on CD. It’s here that one gets the more conventional aesthetic, I say that for those who were too young to appreciate vinyl or just don’t do the cassette thing. This was to be the second purchase for me of the same album…is the message getting through now?

Brazil’s Läjä Records, in conjunction with DeathNoise Productions, were next on the list whom released a superb digipak edition, the final result was a third purchase of the same album. Something I rarely if ever do. In fact I bought two copies of this awesome digipak so I could give one to a friend as a surprise.

Läjä’s Mozine had this to say about the band and the album: “I decided to put out this record, first because after releasing the Skate Aranha 10″ (Josh’s old band) I started friendship with Josh. When I heard Bode Preto I was shocked with the band. For a long time I didn’t listen to something so real, brutal and raw. I feel true in each second I listen to Bode Preto and it’s a kind of band I would like to play. Läjä Records is not really a record label 100% involved with black metal and metal, we are more to brutal and raw hardcore and rawk, but, this record and band is so, but so good that is above a particular style.”

LäJä Rex DeathNoise

Definitely get yourself a decent set of headphones for when you can’t blast this gem out in the open –- adding further layers to the experiences that await. Inverted Blood is the culmination of all those experiences to produce the final product (ie: music, image, packaging, feeling and more). Extreme music needs that kind of intensity if it’s going to hold its head high above the chaff. I expect, and hope, to hear much more from these guys in the coming years.

Interview with Cronos of Venom

October 18, 2011 –
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He nails the current music scene quite accurately:

The “video” is a single image; the audio is what you’re there for.

Black metal and modern classical

May 27, 2011 –
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KAOS radio (Austin, TX) has stepped up to the plate with a 2 hr show of black metal, classical, and soundtracks. As they say in their tagline, “If you don’t like classical then you aren’t a real metal fan.” We tend to agree. Direct download link here, or you can browse the show page at the following link.

The Winter of Our Discontent: A Bruckner Romance